At the back of the hill

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Saturday, March 24, 2018


There was a smell I could not immediately identify. Something mysterious, deep, delicious. After a while it came to me. Shrimp paste. At least I think it was shrimp paste. While they were preparing my Thai gravy porkchops, they were also making something with shrimp paste, or dried fish.

[Porkchops in Thai-style sauce: 泰汁豬扒 'tai jap chyu baa'. Shrimp paste: 鹹蝦醬 'haam haa jeung'. Dried (salt) fish: 鹹魚 'haam yü'.]

On the television, someone was preparing scrambled egg with fish maw, which also looked delicious. Then there was something with sugar-marinated pork.
Fish maw (魚肚 'yü tou' or 花膠 'faa gaau') is at the opposite end of the spectrum from the two more assertive seafoods mentioned above.
More expensive, too.

The hostesses on that television show look vacuous and painted, and have that polished Chinese femmy twithead look that passes for beauty. It's the dominance of mainland preference, which likes harmless looking women. Left to my own devices I would likely not watch it, but I've gotten used to photogenic barbies exclaiming over something scrumptious which they could never cook themselves, after nodding agreeably while someone else prepares food with a blow by blow description of what and why.

I can remember the special dishes better than the television girls.

As well as the porkchops I always have there.

Mushroom gravy. Pepper gravy.
And Thai gravy.

Plus the staff have character.
That counts for a lot.

Shrimp paste versus bland textural effect.
Real people rather than television girls.

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